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Mitral Valve Problems

Clip Number: 3 of 35
Presentation: Mitral Valve Replacement
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Now that you have seen how a healthy heart works, let's discuss some of the problems that can occur with the mitral valve. The mitral valve has two leaflets, which keep blood flowing into the heart from the lungs.
There are two types of mitral valve problems: stenosis and insufficiency.
Valve stenosis is a narrowing of the valve. When this happens, the heart has to push harder to get blood through the smaller opening, making it difficult for blood to leave the lungs and return to the heart. In older patients, stenosis may be caused by a build-up of calcium on the valve. This build-up also hardens the valve, which can hinder its ability to open and close properly.
Insufficiency or leakage is another problem that can occur when a valve does not close properly. This allows blood to leak back through the valve, AWAY from the direction it SHOULD be going. With the mitral valve, this causes blood to leak backwards towards the lungs. Insufficiency can be caused by a valve that has simply become weak over time and is beginning to wear out.
Another less common cause of valve disease can be an infection you may have had when you were younger, called rheumatic fever. This infection may have damaged your valve, causing scarring that is now making your valve function improperly.
Your valve is also affected by the blood supply to the heart. If you have had a heart attack or if there is poor blood flow because of narrowing in the arteries of the heart, then this may also contribute to your valve failing.
These problems may cause you to feel short of breath, fatigue, or chest pain and may even cause you to pass out.

Mitral Valve Replacement


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